As a horror movie lover, I have had some problems with modern horror movies for a long time. Apart from the increase in the number of simple works that repeat themselves, make fools of the audience, and are covered with clichés, the fact that the horror movies have shifted to drama is now damaging the horror genre. Many directors who took refuge in the eerie music added on slow camera movements think they are doing fine in the horror genre. Apart from all of this, Post Mortem has managed to offer me the modern approach to horror that I have been looking for for a long time. Post Mortem, directed by Peter Bergendy, is a film that has received significant attention and praise in all the festivals it has been shown. I can say about Post Mortem, which I had the chance to watch at the 41st Istanbul Film Festival: It deserves all the praise. We can even say more.
Let’s briefly touch on the subject… Tomas, a Post Mortem photographer, encounters Anna while doing his job at the fair. When Anna tells him that there are many dead in his village, which means lots of job opportunities, Tomas does not miss this offer and goes to his village with her. There are indeed many dead in the village to be photographed. But there are things other than the dead. With the arrival of Tomas, an unusual paranormal activity begins in the village. Some things that the villagers ignore begin to disturb the villagers even more with the arrival of Tomas. These entities, which even interfere with the photographs, attract Tomas’s attention. Taking little Anna with him, Tomas becomes the paranormal detective of the village.
Post Mortem means after-death photography. That’s Tomas’ job. Even if a relative has passed away, do not be afraid; come to Tomas, and he will take a family photo as if your kin never died. But, joking aside, Tomas has a pretty scary job, and he is an expert at this. Although it is a horror movie, we see many details about Post Mortem photography in the movie. The film conveys the subtleties of the profession to us with the positioning of the dead for photography, the interventions to be made on the joints, the requirements to keep the head upright, make-up, and more. It is a profession that gives goosebumps even to someone like me who is a horror creep.
As much as director Peter Bergendy and his production may claim, Post Mortem is not the first Hungarian horror movie. But it sure is an excellent job. The most important reason why the film received so much praise is that the horror element appears day and night indiscriminately. Except for James Wan’s Insidious, I have never seen such a movie that shows the horror element during the daytime. Not just hours; the element of fear can show itself in the crowd without any worries. In other words, the stereotypical “if we stay close to each other, nothing will happen” does not apply to Post Mortem. At any moment, something can pull you out of the crowd. In the process leading up to the finale, the episode where these horror elements attacked the public like crazy and the people had a nervous breakdown was terrific. Even James Wan has yet to display such a daring attitude. Thanks to this movie, we have seen that the element of fear can frighten even in the daytime when the environment is set up correctly.
The film does not stay behind at all in showing the horror element. In fact, the movie gets more intense as it progresses. It will be a funny example, but Post Mortem is like the horror version of Fast and Furious. Fear is accelerating with every passing minute, and the dose of fantastic moments increases with each passing moment. It gets worse every minute when you say, “what’s next.” The movie somehow manages to put it on top of every time. Yes, I have to say that the fantastic part is a bit of an exaggeration. However, the movie never grins while watching. This choice was one of the reasons why I liked the movie. The film comes with new actions without giving you time to breathe and does not fill the gap with unnecessary dramatic background stories.
It must be said that it is a relatively amateur film. While the acting is outstanding in places, it is scratchy in some scenes. So is the director himself. While his choices sometimes seem very impressive, sometimes they are too absurd. For example, the scene where they return to the barn and see the dead standing in a specific order, although it is quite a ridiculous scene, I liked it for some reason. Even though there are many silly things like this in the movie, it doesn’t get boring due to its carnivalish flow and makes you watch it until the end.
To sum it up… Post Mortem is an exciting movie about the character Tomas, who comes to a town as a Post Mortem photographer but turns into a paranormal detective and starts investigating increasing supernatural attacks during his detective work. The film, which does not even try to explain what is going on, just focuses only on horror and its elements. The element of fear is daring enough to plunge into crowds day and night. And this audacity creates an action that never ends, that gets faster every minute. Standing like gold next to Hollywood’s stereotypical horrors, Post Mortem deserves all the praise. One of the best horror movies I’ve seen in a long time; Post Mortem is definitely a unique movie.
Cast & Crew
director: Péter Bergendy
writers: Piros Zánkay(screenplay by) Gábor Hellebrandt(story by) Péter Bergendy(story by)
starring: Viktor Klem, Fruzsina Hais, Judit Schell
HUNGARY | 2020 | 115 MINUTES |